Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sell Me More than Passion


Some may say that years of writing and critiquing films have withdrawn the passion I once so vehemently displayed in everyday life. That in the place is a cooler, calculating, more analytical individual. And, on some minute (possibly calculable) level, they'd be right. Yet to anyone with eyes, and the indomitably to brave asking me to discuss the works of Kurosawa, the passion is still there. Just, like so many things in life, it has found a new mold in which to reside itself.

You see, I no longer respond much to impassioned remarks, hyperbolic characterization, or vile lambasting. There was a time when I found such acts to be among the most appreciable and entertaining resources for reading. However, these days I find solitude in satire, randomness (not much change there), and heartfelt remarks. I love reading about why someone loved or hated something. Hidden messages beneath the surface of the celluloid. A few off the wall jokes about films and why people place so much emphasis on their own 'correctness' with respect to them.

Unfortunately, these aren't the type posts that create a magnetic force to which readers are drawn. I get by on those of you who enjoy my writing well enough to visit once or twice a day, toss in the good ol' comment and then wait for me to inevitably comment on yours. And to each and everyone of those readers, I am quite grateful.

This does, however, create an odd disconnect between me and many of my fellow bloggers. You see, many of us have grown up in the age of reality TV and television show hosts who are ghostly reincarnations of Howard Beale. We believe that to be heard you must scream. To be understood you must be belligerent. To be opinionated you must be idealistic. That objectivity and sensibility are phrases reserved for the inept and weak minded. And so the mentality resonates throughout our writing like locus.

In my eyes, this is nothing but a farce. Being passionate about films is more than screaming their names on social networking sites, regardless of whether you do so in favor or disgust. To me, being passionate about film is the desire to understand them. Even the ones you hate. To learn about the process to which they came into life. The ripples throughout the years of cinema to which they affected, or will eventually affect. The study of who, why, and how certain films came to be loved and others hated is as equally captivating as my own personal feelings towards them.

This of course makes Oscar season my most and least favorite time of the year. The ways in which people react to the arbitrary winning and losing of certain films in relation to other films is a gripping roller coaster ride of emotion. So please, forgive me if I don't do a hundred posts on here about why this film should have won over that or why this all matters. I'll do my top 10 films in the next week or two, but it'll be just that. Another top 10 film list from someone with his own viewpoint on cinema likely impacted by his various dealings with the world. Nothing more, nothing less. Is it too apathetic? Perhaps on the surface. But passion is far more than what you see.

13 better thoughts:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Why is Oscar season like a Dickens' novel? I thought this year was going to go by peacefully and then the hate for TKS grew to voluble proportions - a bit freaky, since half of the people seemed fine with it before it started winning left and right. This will never NOT be weird.

MrJeffery said...

@andrew I so agree with you! I think TKS is a fine film and would be a worthy BP winner. There were so many great, small films this year that are making money and getting recognized. The biz has a lot to work on but I think film fans in general should be pretty pleased.

Rich said...

I don't suppose you had a certain website in mind when you wrote this, did you? (Though I bet I could take a guess...)

The Film Connoisseur said...

Totally agree with ya on the nature of bloggin and I too love blogs that are passionate about films and focus more on why they love a certain film or why they hate it. Most important to me is that the blogger doing the writer at least has a view point on the films themes. Not just randomly stating facts.

Simon said...

Oscars is Dickens with less humor. Is what I gather.

I'm with ya, sister! While we're at it, less kiss-ass color by numbers reviews.

Univarn said...

@Andrew Nope, never works out that way. People love to complain.

@MrJeffery I do think the Oscars have done a better job this year of reaching out to the mid-indies. Then again, the big budget films had very little to offer this year

@Rich Actually, I didn't. Did you have one in mind when you read it?

@FilmConnoisseur Randomly spitting out facts (or what they perceive to be facts) seems to be far too common cause these days.

@Simon sister? Have I received a sex change lately and been made unaware?

Simon said...

It wouldn't hurt to check.

Rich said...

Yeah, I did, for exactly the reasons you describe. But since you didn't it's not important.

Before I started blogging about movies I had a different blog, and on many occasions I would wonder whether I needed to adopt a "personality" in order to get noticed, whether I needed to be wild and crazy and irreverent. Truth is, I wouldn't know how to be that way and I seriously doubt I could sustain it for long. For those who can - good for them. But that's not me.

Castor said...

@ Andrew: Ahahah I haven't seen TKS and I'm starting to hate it! I guess it's the flock mentality that bugs me.

@ Rich, Uni: I think it's important to explore different writing styles and voices, if only to keep the blogging fun!

5plitreel said...

For some reason, this year I don't have a passionate opinion of which films / actors should win or not. It's either got to do with the fact that a lot of the films in 2010 were equally as good, on the same line so to say, or they were equally as forgettable.

I really liked The Social Network, but I didn't love it. I love Fincher when he does something dark. This wasn't dark. Inception fell through for me on the second go, it didn't keep the pulse racing anymore, it didn't make want to talk about it again for hours.

TBH which ever film wins the title of Best Movie of 2010 (TKS or TSN) I really don't think it will go down in history as something that moved a lot of people. In Fincher's oeuvre TSN isn't his best, and in TKS's genre it isn't the best. I can't really see anyone saying that they fell in love with film by watching one of these. Inception maybe yes, but the idea of Inception is so much more better and forceful, than the actual product

Mike Lippert said...

"Being passionate about films is more than screaming their names on social networking sites, regardless of whether you do so in favor or disgust. To me, being passionate about film is the desire to understand them. Even the ones you hate. To learn about the process to which they came into life. The ripples throughout the years of cinema to which they affected, or will eventually affect. The study of who, why, and how certain films came to be loved and others hated is as equally captivating as my own personal feelings towards them."

Oh dear yes, how quick people are to write off movies these days that are either too predictable (not a bad thing at all in some cases) or doesn't pander directly to them (I can't wait to see how people will react to Tree of Life).

However, I would add one thing to this statement that I have been preaching for awhile: it's just about understanding movies and trying to deal and understand them, it's all about going out and being immersered in culture: history, politics, philsophy, psychology, theatre, literature and so on because essentially all criticism is perception and so when you immeserse yourself in those things they will affect your viewpoint and you will bring that to your criticism. In that sense, to quote myself, the best critic is, in some way, the person who knows little about film and everything about life.

flixchatter said...

Great commentary, Univarn, now can I scream at the top of my lungs that I like this post? :D I'll keep my um, passion in check next time as sometimes I let my feelings/opinion get the best of me.

Anyway, I happen to like TKS because I'm often drawn to movies about British monarchy but I'm not going to cry foul if it loses Best Picture nod to oh, I don't know, Social Network.

Univarn said...

@Simon Will do

@Castor I wholeheartedly agree. However, I don't like to mimic other's voices. Unless of course it sounds really awesome.

@5plitreel That's how I felt about the Oscars last year.

@Mike It's odd the way movie criticism seems to be going with respect to blogging. Writers tend to be getting more sociological while readers tend to be getting more sycophantic. More "this writer disagrees with me therefore they are wrong and the worst writer ever" than I can ever remember seeing before.

@flixchatter I wouldn't recommend screaming at the top of your lungs. Would hate for you to get a sore throat on my account. However, you could write a post of your own and include lots of exclamation points.

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